Chapter 11: TOO SCARED TO TALK
Rick Tyler had just said good-bye to his parents when he picked up something big, bright, yellow and low to the ground in his rear view mirror zooming to a stop behind his Wind Dancer.
Thats when his attention turned to the driver who he recognized as Hector Clay through the Daylight glass of the windshield which was just beginning to turn red. Ricks door scissored up as the door of the car behind him swung out and the two men hurled themselves out into the street at the same time.
"Mr. Clay," called Rick, signaling him to stop with one hand while reaching in his back pocket for his wallet with the other. The stocky black man whirled to face him in a semi-fighting stance with distrust and anxiety etched in his face. His eyes rolled down to the police ID card then snapped back up at the face of the agitated younger man holding it.
"Are you the guy who called me about Vivian?" asked Hector, looking very much like someone trying to fit a circular jigsaw piece into a slightly elliptical space.
"No," said Rick, "But Id appreciate anything you can tell me about it."
"Is she in there?" asked Hector?"
"Im going in," said Hector who began stepping quickly toward the house.
The younger man dashed ahead of him and blocked his path, only to be brushed aside like tumbleweed by a surprisingly strong forearm. Rick staggered back, recovered and fell in behind the stocky ex-GI like the tail of a comet. "Dr. Clay! Please, Dr. Clay! You cant..."
The two of them were up the stairs and into the house before Rick could finish telling Hector that he couldnt do it. Hector froze two steps into the E room, then followed his nose straight to the blood spill. He looked back and fourth between the stain on the table and the stain on the floor and rubbed the back of his neck.
"I know," said Rick from the E room, "Looks like somebody poured it there." He could tell what Hector was thinking now by the way he moved his head and shifted his eyes. "Dont go tearing off to every room, closet and cubbyhole in the place trying to find her. I already did that."
Hector tensed for a moment, then his shoulders slumped and he walked back into the E room with the younger man. "What the hell is going on?" he asked, evenly.
"I was hoping you could tell me," said Rick. "But I dont think this is a good place to discuss it. When the police find out about Mr. Mayhews connection to WQST and Ms. Foski, theyll be here in force with a crew from every telewindow station in greater Detroit."
"What?" asked Hector, as confused as he was alarmed.
"Lets go out to my caror yours, if you want. I am a cop but I didnt come here on official business." Rick turned to leave and Hector followed him out.
"I dont understand any of this," said Hector, as they descended the stairs. "Whats this about Mayhew and QST?"
Rick waited until they were across the street and Hector had closed the open door of his car before he answered as gently as he could. "Mr. Mayhew is dead."
Hector groaned and leaned his body against the side of his car.
"He was found about six blocks from here with a gun in one hand and a couple of fully loaded, 7 mm magazines in the other. Were not sure how he died or how he ended up where he did, but he had so much money in his bank book that its almost certain he was smuggling it to different contacts in the NEZ."
Hectors eyes darted about like a man seeking an escape route from disaster where none existed. He didnt know that Vivian and Mayhew were money smugglers but he had his suspicionssuspicions that he took pains not to confirm. "And you figure that the owner of the station must have given him the money."
"Yeah," said Rick, ignoring Hectors sarcastic tone. "Itll take a few days to get court orders for the time scans theyll need and a couple of weeks at the outside to take the flashbacks and process the film. If the first scan doesnt turn up anything incriminating, it wont be easy for them to get another one. Flashbacks cost a lot of money and the tax payers arent too keen on financing fishing expeditions."
"Do you think theyll scan for what happened today in the house?"
"Not unless theyre sure they can prove that a crime was committed. To tell the truth, it looks like somebody set things up to discourage a time scan or to make the police look foolish if they went through with one."
"Vivian wouldnt do that," said Hector defensively.
Ricks eyes widened in surprise, "I never even considered that... For a moment he did consider it and then he dismissed it. "But I can see how it might look that way to someone who doesnt know about Shag Man and the kid he killed this morning."
"Shag Man!" blurted Hector. "The guy who called me said that somebody named Shag Man was going to Vivians house to kill her. Sounded like a young white guy. Thats why I thought it might have been you."
"Im not white," said Rick, "and Im not that young."
"Who gives a shit about you?" said Hector testily, "I wanna know what happened to Vivian? Somebody had to have seen something."
"If they did, theyre too scared to talk."
Hector had little patience with people who would allow a good neighbor to be molested or even killed by some thug without doing anything about it. They were, in his mind, no less responsible for the crime than the criminal, in that the criminal would never commit the crime if he could not count on their cooperation in advance. Thuggery and cowardice went hand-in-hand.
"What do you know about Shag Man?" asked Hector.
"I know hes the head of a big drug gang, called The Company, maybe the biggest in the city. Vivians sister turned the wrong way on Fullerton this morning on her way over here and saw his boys hammering some kid in an alley. She called the police and tried to break it up. Thats how I got involved. She got the other boys to run away but Shag Man stuck around and blew the boys brains out before I got there. He saw me on the other side of the security fence and walked away. He knew I couldnt shoot him, unless he either shot at me or ran. The man knows the law."
"Im confused," said Hector. What you said about Mina sounds more like something Vivian would do. And what does all of that have to do with Mayhew and Vivian smuggling money?
Rick shook his head. "I think the money smuggling thing is a coincidence. Shag Man wanted to get to Mina the same way he got to Vivians neighbors."
"But why? Nobody ever gets prosecuted for killing somebody in a DZ."
"Thats because there are never any witnesses."Back to top
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Contact the author: Jasper Garrison